Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Friends & family recipes scrawled inside "Joy of Cooking"

During one of the many, many waves of cleaning out the house on Oak Crest Lane earlier this decade, it was determined that the battered kitchen copy of Joy of Cooking wasn't going to make the cut for keeping. If you're familiar with it, you know it's a hefty tome and it's far from unique or rare. Plus, at that point, we still had approximately one zillion of Mom's other cookbooks in the Keep pile. So it was out with Joy.

But before we discarded it, I tore out the first few pages and added them to a manila folder filled with food ephemera [hoarding alert]. On those pages, as oft happens with cookbooks, some extra recipes had been scrawled over the years. And, given the handwriting in our family tree, I do mean scrawled.

Shown above is the cookbook's first page, and we see that this copy of Joy of Cooking was originally gifted to Papa, from Helen, on Christmas 1970. Papa is my great-grandfather, Howard Horsey Adams (1892-1985), who was the top chef on Oak Crest Lane. Helen is his daughter (and my grandmother), Helen Chandler Adams Ingham, who was once at Stonehenge.

Here, for posterity (because that's what we do here), are some of those recipes from the pages we kept...

Mina Oliver's salad dressing
  • Kraft's French — 1/3
  • 1890 Dressing — 2/3
  • chives

[OK, I didn't say these were all interesting recipes.]

Untitled Seafood Dish
  • 2# shrimp — clean, cook & cool
  • 2# mushroom — cut into bite size & saute 5 minutes in butter
  • 3# scallops — cut into bite size & saute 5 minutes in butter
  • 5 cans frozen shrimp soup
  • 2 cans evaporated milk
Add the shrimp soup and evaporated milk together and heat. Then add the shrimp, mushrooms and scallops. Last, add sherry and pour over dried noodles.

[Dried noodles??]

Katherine's Chicken Dish
  • ½ stick butter
  • 1½ cup dry brown rice
  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  • 10 pieces chicken, boned
  • 1 can cream mushroom soup
  • 1 can cream chicken soup
  • 1 can celery soup
  • 1 can onion soup
  • 1 can consomm√© soup
  • 1 soup can H2O
  • ½ cup cooking sherry
  • 2-3 oz. parmesan cheese
Heat butter in skillet & put in casserole. Put rice bottom of pan. Stir in almonds, lay chicken on rice. Heat soups together & H2O in separate pot & then add sherry. Pour over chicken, sprinkle cheese. Bake uncovered for 3 hours, 275° & put foil over when getting dry. Do day before & put in refrigerator. Put cooled soup over & cover & let some air in.

[I have some questions.]

Finally, here's the recipe for Trudy's Fudge (Fantasy), if you want to translate it yourself and service your sweet tooth.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Montoursville 2018:
Our third house

OK, it's time to get this series polished off. I'm at peace with (and actually a bit comforted by) the idea that I could not possibly fit all of my memories and stories about our house on Montoursville's Willow Street into one post. So I won't even try.

We lived at 912 Willow Street from late 1980 until the summer of 1983, so I was ages 10, 11 and 12 during that time — very robust years for childhood memories, much more so than when I was single digits in the hazy, trippy 1970s.

Quick recap
  • First family house in Montoursville was on Mulberry Street (early 1970s).
  • Second family house in Montoursville was on Spruce Street (mid 1970s until summer of 1978).
  • Then we moved away and lived in Clayton, New Jersey, from summer 1978 until late 1980.
  • Third family house in Montoursville was on Willow Street (late 1980 until summer 1983).
  • Then we moved to Florida.

The Willow Street house is in the northeast corner of town, where the elevation begins to rise. It's located at the triangular corner of Willow Street and Fairview Drive, as you can see from this map I used in an earlier post about C.E. McCall Middle School. The backyard, where the driveway is located, is very sloped, making for unpleasant shoveling times in the winter (to which Dad and his back surgery can definitely attest). When we moved in, there was a huge willow tree in the far corner of the backyard, but it was cut down during our time there. We also had a burn barrel for paper trash in the backyard, because it was a much different time then — long before there was much momentum for the notions of recycling or air quality.

Even with the slope, the backyard was a great place for running around with the hose or sprinkler. There were all sorts of nooks and crannies to play with Star Wars figures or Matchbox cars. I remember coming across a walking stick insect once in the bushes. The tree in the corner of the front yard was just starting to be strong enough for a young boy to climb; it's huge and middle-aged now. Best of all, I remember laying in the backyard during dark summer nights to gaze at sky and watch for shooting stars. We were spoiled by those night skies, so relatively unpolluted by man-made light.

To the side of the house, along Fairview Drive, there is a concrete-slab covered porch. We spent much time out there throughout the year — relaxing, conversing with friends and neighbors, bug-hunting or listening to John Williams soundtrack albums on the record player we would haul out there and plug in.

Here are some then-and-now photos of the Willow Street house's exterior...


Side porch


Some thoughts after looking at those photos:

  • I'm glad it wasn't until our next house, in flat Florida, that I began taking on lawnmowing duties.
  • That's not our station wagon in the early 1980s photo of the driveway.
  • I love the front-yard landscaping now.
  • I have no recollection of the huge tree that now dominates the backyard, not even as a sapling (though my memory might be faulty on that count). The tree is also located almost exactly where we used to lay on the ground for stargazing.
  • Fences kind of suck, from an aesthetic standpoint, though I do understand you need them if you have a dog (or small children), so close to the road.

* * *

The first floor of the Willow Street house, when we lived there, contained a formal living room as you came in the front door, followed by a small dining room. From the dining room, there were three bedrooms (sharing just one bathroom) to the right and the kitchen to the left. (I wrote about the kitchen during a "Snapshot & Memories" post in January, so I won't touch on it much today.)

The finished basement was where we spent much of our time. There was a TV room, a rec area that served as both a bar and an area for playing board games or cards, a laundry room, and a large play area just inside the garage door where Adriane and I played with blocks or other toys and then cleared them all away during the holidays so that the live Christmas tree could go up. The basement was fairly dark and it could get damp, too. Probably the biggest Traumatic House Event during our time there involved a damaged drainpipe at the bottom of the sloped driveway; it forced water into much of the basement.

The coolest part of the house was the fully finished attic. The staircase was located off the dining room. The main part of the attic was a long hallway, wide enough to allow storage (books, boxes, etc.) on both sides and still have plenty of room to navigate. Flanking the hallway, on both sides, were storage passages that went the length of the attic. Adriane and I called them the cubby holes, and we played in them all the time. Both cubby holes had terminus points in the small guest bedroom located at the far end of the attic. (That's me in the attic bedroom in the photograph at the top of this post.) The guest bedroom was also a great place to play with friends or to seek out some solitude for reading. The Willow Street attic was great.

In retrospect, the worst part about the house is that it had just one full bathroom on the first floor and a toilet closet in the basement. For a four-bedroom house, it was definitely lacking in that respect. And the kitchen was fairly small. I wonder if it's been retrofitted over the decades. (Hmmm, it appears the answer is no.)

* * *

Ephemera & memories & being a kid

As I said, I won't even attempt to share all of my memories of my time at this house. To keep things simpler, and far more appropriate for the nature of this blog, I'll limit it to some memories related to books and ephemera. Many of this is also tied in with sports, which I was very enthusiastic about at the time. Here we go...

  • I remember finishing an English research paper about lions, complete with every fact I found on a separate index card (for the mandatory footnotes), while watching the Philadelphia 76ers win the NBA championship over the Los Angeles Lakers.
  • I had a small metal box in which I put clippings and other ephemera related to the Philadelphia Phillies. I had boxscores and other tidbits that were cut from the Williamsport Sun-Gazette. I think I also made my own Phillies baseball cards, as a project.
  • My favorite magazines were the Street and Smith's baseball yearbooks that were issued late each winter. I absolutely poured over the articles, team-by-team previews, rosters, statistics and schedules. I was also enamored of the Topps baseball sticker albums during this time.
  • When I played Major League Baseball on the Intellivision that was set up in the basement, I would sometimes write out actual lineups for the game, filled with my favorite contemporary players, and then keep the boxscore and subsequently track my players' statistics over several games. (It was good math practice!)
  • I kept notes and statistics about the first season of the United States Football League. I loved that league!
  • Dad would often go get The Philadelphia Inquirer and a box of doughnuts on Sunday mornings. I definitely read the comics, and probably Sports. I'm not sure what else I was reading in the newspaper at that point.
  • Pivoting to something other than sports, I discovered the world of Dungeons & Dragons during this time (which should not be a surprise to regular readers of this blog), though I didn't really play in any groups or know anyone who did. I had the 1981 Basic Set and the other things that came with it in the box. I probably had an issue or two of Dragon magazine, and I was an avid reader of the Endless Quest series. Mostly, I liked to create maps and histories for fantasy worlds. I remember having a small, light-blue-covered notebook filled with maps and ideas, and what fun it would be to still have that to look through. I'm sure I'm the one who decided to get rid of it at some later point, but I can't fathom why. Dad would make photocopies of D&D character sheets for me, but I'm not sure what I used those for, since I didn't play the game. I just remember how cool and special it felt to have Dad bring home photocopies from work.
  • On my bedroom bookshelf, I had a couple dozen of those National Geographic hardcover "Young Explorers" books, courtesy of a gift subscription from Beembom (my grandmother, Helen Chandler Adams Ingham). I also remember reading a lot of Garfield, Family Circus and The Three Investigators books during this time. Plus, of course, the discovery of Ruth Manning-Sanders at Konkle Memorial Library.
  • We had The Smithsonian Collection of Newspaper Comics, a huge hardcover volume, on the bookshelf in the formal living room. I would often pull it from the shelf and browse for hours. The book is on a bookshelf in my bedroom today.
  • My record albums were an odd and definitely unhip mixture for someone my age. I had the aforementioned John Williams movie scores (Superman, Raiders of the Lost Ark); Hooked on Classics; Star Trek tales on vinyl; Mickey Mouse Disco; a half-remembered record that had covers (not originals) of popular movie songs such as "Makin' It" from Meatballs; and another collection featuring covers of classic movie themes such as The Pink Panther and It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. Those are the ones I can remember (and admit to), anyway. I was not yet into buying pop music on any medium. (And it's crazy to think how much I grew, learned and changed from this kid in early 1983 to the college graduate who bought August and Everything After on cassette in the autumn of 1993.)
  • Mom's college art books were in that bedroom in the attic, along with some of her other forgotten artistic endeavors. I wonder, in retrospect, if she just didn't care for them at that point. Or maybe they reminded her of things that could have been. She definitely wanted to keep them, but never seemed very interested in revisiting them. The bulk of her reading then consisted of Hans Holzer, Susy Smith, Stephen King, etc. This was still a few years, I believe, before she got back to adding historical fiction into her regular reading rotation.
  • And I had a Christopher Reeve/Superman poster on my bedroom wall. Here's proof!

* * *
Wrapping up, I envision three more Montoursville 2018 posts, all of which should come before Thanksgiving and none of which should require the time and effort of this one. We can see the finish line!

Monday, November 12, 2018

Thoughts on collections and their inevitable dispersal

I ruminate often these days about the need to starting heading in the opposite direction with my book and ephemera collections.

Maybe 2019 is the year when I should start passing more things along to others; when I should start seriously downsizing my stuff and keeping things simpler and less cluttered for the home stretch. Or maybe 2020. Sooner rather than later, though. Partly because simpler and less cluttered sounds less stressful, and partly because it's ultimately, and always has been, more fun to give than to acquire. (Though I'm still not 100 percent over the thrill of the hunt for a groovy book or piece of ephemera.)

Regarding this line of discussion, I have come across two related news items I wanted to share.

First is a short NPR article titled "Author Haruki Murakami Will Donate A Record Collection 'Beyond The Bounds Of Sanity.'" (There is also an Associated Press story with more details but a much more drab headline.)

The award-winning author's 10,000+ music albums will soon be archived at Waseda University in Tokyo. Of this, Murakami states:
“I have no children to take care of them and I didn't want those resources to be scattered and lost when I die. I’m grateful that I can keep them in an archive.”

* * *

Second, there was a recent Facebook post by Seth T. Smolinske, who I have previously mentioned as being the leading expert and resource on The Three Investigators book series. He posted this photograph and message two days ago:
"Here's one final quick snap of the main bookcase which holds my 'Master Set' of Three Investigators books as it looked on Nov. 4, 2018. I'll post some better pics of the individual shelves in the comments below and/or during this next week. The sale of the Smolinske collection officially begins next Saturday, the 14th of November with some items that came directly from the Random House offices and archives in New York City.

"My sale will take place over the next several months. The plan is to put up select items or groups of items every week or two (unfortunately I've still got a hectic work schedule to try and work around). We'll feature these items here on this page and also on my T3I site. Most items will be listed for set prices, often on my regular T3I sales page, but some will be listed on eBay to sell to the highest bidder. As always, over time, if set price items don't sell then the prices will gradually drop until they do.

"There are a lot of items which are unique or quite scarce, it will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire some of these things, original artwork, signed books, uncirculated GLBs, and other unique ephemera. But there are also a lot of common items and I trust that there is something for everyone no matter what type of collection you are building.

"Questions and feedback are always welcome. It's best to send me a private message or, even better, contact me by e-mail through my Three Investigators site. Good luck to all!"
One of his followers offered the following comment, which also gets to the core of what people decide to keep or give: "I love it that this collection exists and the effort that went into collecting all of these books. At the same time it is always bittersweet to see an end to anything. At this very moment I am getting ready to sell a train set that has been in the family for a long time. The kids don't want it and that's another story. Just makes me think and get a bit sentimental to see this collection move along for some reason."

Meanwhile, when asked for more details on why he's breaking up his Three Investigators collection at this time, and in this way, Smolinske adds:
"You're asking a question that a lot of folks have asked in the last several weeks and so I'll try to answer it as best I can. There's a lot of T3I stuff that I'm keeping. After all, the early books still spin their magic and truly make me feel like a kid again when I read one. But I promised myself several years ago that I'd give some serious consideration to down-sizing the collection when I passed a few of those 'life-milestones'. And here we are. But it's more than that. I've not had the time I once enjoyed 7 and 8 years ago to spend on the site or with continuing to build and upgrade the collection. I've reached a plateau with the collection and I'm frustrated that I haven't been able to contribute much to the T3I community or add to the knowledge base in recent years. My kids don't have a special interest in the collection and if something were to happen to me I'm not sure what the fate of the collection would be. I think it's a good time to make it available to fans and collectors and give others the opportunity to own some of the really cool T3I things that I've had the privilege to enjoy for awhile. That's pretty much it. I plan to keep my T3I site up an running and I hope that it won't be too long before I have more time on my hands to spend on it."
I think those are some pretty good and noble reasons, and I think it's great that Smolinske will be working to get these items into the hands of those who will enjoy them most. That's what it's all about, right?

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Mabel Hedrick's postcard message to Warren White

"Lead us not into Temptation!" is the caption for this embossed A. & S. postcard.

The postcard was never stamped or postmarked, but it was addressed to Warren White of Wrightsville, Pennsylvania (R.F.D. #2), and contains the following message in large cursive:

Apples are good
Peaches are better
And if you love
Please answer my
Letter. From
Mabel Hedrick

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Bela Lugosi, on paying it forward

One of my current reads is Lugosi: The Man Behind The Cape, by Robert Cremer. It was published in 1976, and I'm not sure where it standings in the Lugosi Biography Rankings™, because this is the first one I've read.

It does strike me that Bela Lugosi probably should have died several times before he finally made it to the United States and become the cinematic Prince of the Undead. From what I've read thus far, he narrowly averted death (1) while serving for the Austro-Hungarian Army in the Great War and being shot or blown up multiple times, (2) while fleeing Hungary, hastily, via a straw-filled gypsy cart and open cockpit airplane following the failed Hungarian Communist Revolution; and (3) during a weeks-long journey to the United States in 1920 aboard a freighter on which he had to hide constantly from crew members who wanted to throw him overboard.

Those harrowing incidents, and especially the kindness of those who helped Lugosi survive them, inspired a philosophy that he embraced moving forward. I wanted to share this excerpt from Cremer's book about how Lugosi would pay it forward. It's the kind of inspirational little nugget we all need more of these days:
Years later, when financial security had been won, Bela did not forget the generosity ... and he made a pact with himself to repay that debt to others. It took a while to find words for this emotional lesson in is life, and when he did finally find them, they were simple and direct.

... Bela helped an aspiring drama student at the University of California, in Berkeley, by inviting her to join him in a Los Angeles engagement of Dracula. During rehearsals, Bela spared nothing in helping her with technique, delivery, and gestures. Later he showed up on the MGM lot for Mark of the Vampire to find that young actress, Carroll "Luna" Borland, was being tested for the part of his daughter. The casting director was amazing by their synchronized movements. They worked like members of the same vaudeville family. When Carroll was given the part and began to shower Bela with gratitude, he dismissed it all with a whisk of his hand, a broad grin, and a kernel of philosophical wisdom, a statement that summed up Bela's approach to life. "Carroll," he said, "many, many people have helped me along the way, so don't feel that you owe me anything. You don't. You owe that debt to someone else, someone who will need your help in the future just as you needed mine. When the opportunity comes to help someone who cannot help himself, then you must see your responsibility through. Your duty is to the future, not the past."

It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a book cover.

  • Title: A Grue of Ice
  • Subtitle: A novel of suspense and terror in the Antarctic
  • Author: Geoffrey Jenkins (1920-2001)
  • Cover designer: Arthur Hawkins Jr. (1903-1985)
  • Cover typography: Amazing
  • Publisher: The Viking Press, New York
  • Original price: $3.95
  • Publication date: 1962
  • Count the pages: There are 242 pages.
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Back-cover praise from Ian Fleming: "The reader is dealt such a series of highly expert jolts to the solar plexus in the Geoffrey Household style that he reaches the last page panting ... a literate, imaginative first novel in the tradition of high and original adventure." (That promotional blurb is actually for Jenkins' novel A Twist of Sand.)
  • So what's a grue? In addition to being a creature — first imagined by author Jack Vance and later popularized in Infocom text adventures — that preys on poor souls who wander around in the dark, grue is a noun that can refer to "a fit of shivering," "a particle or bit," or "a thin segment of floating ice."
  • First sentence: "Drake Passage!"
  • Last sentence: "Old John Wetherby would have liked it that way," she said.
  • Random sentence from middle: Of the Thorshammer there was no sign, not even a funnel glow to pick her up in the blackness.
  • Best chapter titles: "The Man with the Immaculate Hand" and "A Cold Grue of Terror"
  • Goodreads rating: 3.66 stars (out of 5.0)
  • Goodreads review excerpt: In 2015, Martin Allen gave it three stars, but wrote: "Formulaic in style — bad guys searching for something, good guys get implicated in bad guys shenanigans. BUT... it was riproaringly entertaining and what it lacked in creative depth and literary pretentiousness it certainly made up for in tidal excitement. Surprisingly enjoyable and I found I struggled to put it down."
  • Notes: This suspense novel centers around the actual (and extremely remote) Bouvet Island and the nearby phantom Thompson Island, which Geoffrey Jenkins claims, perhaps playfully, does exist. ... Cover designer Hawkins was one of the most famed artists in his unique field. His dust jackets, beginning in the 1930s, were, according to a 2012 post by Steven Heller, "highly stylized, most remarkably poster-like with a European accent, at a time when jackets were considered an extraneous yet necessary marketing encumbrance." Heller's post also contains a number of other great examples of Hawkins' work, many of which display his "three-color conceit." According to a 2017 article in The Los Angeles Times, a bookseller once told Hawkins' son, “I bought more bad mysteries because your dad’s covers were so good!” Finally, if you have some money burning a hole in your pocket, a mere $22,000 can buy you a collection of Arthur Hawkins Jr. original artwork on (And shipping is a steal at $4.50!) The collection includes "three original dustwrapper paintings, eight original dry point illustrations, seven large pencil and pen drawings, two scratchboard illustrations, one color airbrushed advertising image, and a binder containing 55 partial dustwrappers of his work, including one unused jacket proof."

* * *

There is an archway in the northern wall. It is the only exit.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Old postcard featuring 18th century building in Scotland

This postcard, which is well over a century old, features the "Public Library" in Elgin, Scotland.

The structure, known officially as Grant Lodge, was built starting around 1765. According to the website Clan Grant Visitors, Sir James Grant of Grant (1738-1811) had it built as an "act of kindness" for his aunt, Lady Innes. It was designed by famed architect Robert Adam.

Clan Grant Visitors further states: "James already own[ed] lands in Elgin between Elgin Cathedral and the River Lossie and use[d] a smaller building already on the site as a quarry for the larger Grant Lodge to be built. Sir James, the owner of the largest expanse of natural pine forest in the country, was not short of materials to complete the build."

Here's a glance at the rest of Grant Lodge's history:

  • 1771: Lady Innes dies, Grant Lodge become Clan Grants' main residence in Moray.
  • 1899: Family sells Grant Lodge to Sir George Cooper for £5,500.
  • 1903: Cooper gifts Grant Lodge and surrounding grounds to Elgin. Grounds become Cooper Park, and lodge becomes a public library, which it remains for more than nine decades.
  • 1996: Library is converted to local heritage center.
  • 2003: Fire extensively damages interior of Grant Lodge. Many historic documents were feared lost, according to BBC News. Structure is boarded up and abandoned.
  • 2004: According to the Buildings at Risk Register for Scotland, a consultant estimated that it would cost £500,000 to restore Grant Lodge for use as a local heritage center.
  • 2008: "The Northern Scot reports that the feasibility study carried out by the Highland Buildings Preservation Trust on behalf of Moray Council has estimated the cost of converting the building into an arts centre between £3.1 - £4.5 million."
  • 2015: "External inspection finds the property boarded up and in declining condition."

Here's what it looks like these days, all sad and boarded up...

Clearly, someone needs to #SaveGrantLodge and #RenovateGrantLodge. So pass this blog post along to your favorite British millionaire benefactor!

* * *

The postcard was mailed in August 1908 to a Miss Lwyford (or Luyford or Twyford or Tuyford), who was staying on a hotel on the Isle of Wight. It seems they had trouble finding her. The postcard is addressed to the Sea View Hotel, but there's a scrawled note indicating that the mailman should try the Pier Hotel, instead.

Here's the cursive message, to the best of my transcribing:
Dear Miss Katharine
I was pleased to get your PC: I do hope you will have a good time and come back to us looking ever so well. Poor Bobbie does not seem well and he won't eat. I don't think he cares very much for his surroundings like me. I am writing to your mother.
James [or Jessie]

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

I want to ride my tricycle,
I want to ride it where I like

This family snapshot was printed in January 1973, but the caption on the back states that it was taken in September 1972 (likely in Montoursville). That's Yours Truly, a 21-month-old who was a super-snappy dresser and an Easy Rider on his tricycle, going for a ride on a crisp autumn day. I wish I still had that outfit, though I'm not sure it would fit. It's certainly patriotic.

September 1972 was well before Jaws or Star Wars, so I didn't have to worry about either of them being my scene.

I probably believed in Peter Pan, Frankenstein and Superman, but had not yet seen a John Wayne movie.

Not sure if I wanted to be the President of America.

I just wanted to ride my tricycle, tricycle, tricycle...